Irn Bru’s ad man in bitter row over controversial marketing campaign


SCOTLAND’S top ad man is involved in a bitter spat with one of the country’s most senior councillors over a controversial marketing campaign.

Gerry Farrell, the man behind Irn Bru’s famous “phenomenal” ads, helped dream up the slogan “Incredinburgh” to boost the profile of the Scottish capital.

But the campaign was met with outright derision in some quarters and Mr Farrell has openly accused the city’s depute leader of sabotage.

Critics have branded the campaign slogans “appalling” and Cllr Cardownie has openly criticised the approach.


Mr Farrell, creative partner with The Leith Agency, claims Councillor Steve Cardownie is responsible for damaging leaks about the campaign.

The angry ad man even offered to meet the councillor “one-to-one, face-to-face, any time, any place, any pub” to discuss the matter.

Marketing Edinburgh, an arms-length firm set up by the council, brought in Mr Farrell’s company to come up with a campaign designed to drum up more visitors to the city.

The recently-launched “Incredinburgh” campaign also includes catchphrases such as “paint the town redinburgh”.

Critics have branded the campaign slogans “appalling” and Cllr Cardownie openly criticised the approach.

But Mr Farrell took to twitter to suggest his nemesis was stirring it behind the scenes, an allegation flatly denied by the SNP politician.

Mr Farrell tweeted, shortly after the councillor had appeared on television: “Phew! No leaks to media today from Deputy Steve Carbootsale.

“King Cobra clearly run out of poison for the time being.”

Another of Mr Farrell’s tweets said: “We’ve all heard of outsiders p****** in, but insiders p****** in, that’s really sad. Leaker-in-Chief, Steve Carbattery.”

And on Thursday he was still taking pot-shots, tweeting: “#incredinburgh still causing a buzz. Winter TV goes live on Sunday in Downton Abbey and X- Factor.

Golden media silence from Hissing Steve.”

Responding to another critic on Twitter, he said: “I’ll defend the #incredinburgh campaign against all turd-slingers”.

The equally combative Cllr Cardownie hit back: “It seems totally unprofessional to sink that low  and make personal comments.

“I have never made any personal comment about Gerry. I’ve only met him once or twice.

“Obviously the criticism about the campaign has touched a nerve and he doesn’t know how to handle it, but I don’t think it will do him or his agency much good that he has degenerated into this kind of language.”

He continued: “I’ve never made any criticism at this chap himself, it’s just the campaign.

“I have actually commended him and his agency.

“But it is lamentable this guy thinks this is the way to go about things.

“He might come to regret this as it does him and his agency a disservice.”

Marketing Edinburgh had a budget in the region of £300,000, but it is not known how much the Leith Agency was paid.

Mr Farrell stressed the tweets represented his personal views and not those of his company.”

He added: “I have never referred directly to Steve Cardownie in my recent tweets.

“People can draw what inferences they like, that’s up to them.”

“It is regrettable that the word “Incredinburgh” was anonymously leaked to the media just two weeks before the official launch in what appeared to be a vindictive spoiling tactic.”

Other controversial marketing slogans in Scotland have included Prestwick Airport’s “pure dead brilliant”, and “The best wee country in the world” emblazoned on posters at other Scottish airports.

In 2010 more than 1,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Prestwick Arport slogan to be dropped.

On coming to power, Alex Salmond also ordered the “best wee country in the world” slogan scrapped.



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